Review: Dudley and the Toy Keeper’s Chest


Dudley, the sweet stuffed sheep, discovers inner strength and courage in this delightfully dark children’s storybook. I truly enjoyed the rhythm of the poetic tale that pulls the reader through, word by word. Author Patrick Algermissen holds nothing back, letting darkness and fear come through in a surprisingly enjoyable way. I quite imagine this to be a very entertaining storytime read in my brother’s first grade classroom, where I have donated this gorgeous book. Continue reading “Review: Dudley and the Toy Keeper’s Chest”

Reviews · Thoughts & Musings

Review (…sort of…): The Echoing by Jessica Blackburn

Yesterday, I eluded to a special book that I found in my garage-sale adventures. This book was it. It caught my eye immediately by the cover – I promise I will get to the whole issue of me judging books by their covers later – but I instantly recognized Oneonta Gorge, a beautiful hiking area leading to an incredible waterfall in my area.

The seller only wanted one dollar for it, and I’m telling you, this book was brand new. I had to have it, if only for the locale depicted on the front. As I walked up to pay for it, a very pleasant man said, “Oh, you found the Easter egg in our little sale. Do you know the story behind this book?” Continue reading “Review (…sort of…): The Echoing by Jessica Blackburn”


Adventures in Book Hoarding!

Oops, I did it again…

0430 Paperback StackYou will hear a lot about the local area in this blog. This particular post is about a wonderful town across the Columbia River from mine, Cascade Locks, Oregon. This community hosted city-wide yard & garage sales this past weekend.

I may or may not have picked up a few things; Needless to say, my TBR (to-be-read) list is growing in impossible ways. Aside from the many random books, I scored big on one stop:

0430 Potter0430 King

Yes, they’re all basically in brand new condition. I believe Fire-Starter and Carrie are first editions. I am a complete Harry Potter nerd, and Stephen King fangirl, so this particular sale was like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for me.

0430 VintageI also picked up some older books. There was a copy of Wuthering Heights, because, hey, you can’t have too many copies, am I right? I snagged the Bracebridge Hall book because I loved the cover. Yes, I judge books by their covers, but that’s a longer conversation for another post, I’m afraid. The Faulkner, O’Neil & Steinbeck book is from a Nobel Prize collection set. It’s older, and it has beautiful color illustrations in it.

The real treasure, though, is really special to me, and I can’t wait to tell you the story behind it in my review tomorrow. Please stay tuned by subscribing and come back tomorrow to read all about it.

Before you go, tell me about your favorite bookish treasure! Where did you find it? I want to know!



Review: Dear White People by Justin Simien

I can still remember when my son entered kindergarten, and came home so excited on his first day. The first thing he said to me was, “Mommy, I have a BROWN girl in my class!”

The innocent observation by my five-year-old smacked me upside my redneck white girl face. Growing up in a predominantly (at that time) white rural community, I was not as cultured as I held myself to be. My “world view” was out of a narrow window in a mountain town whose populace was, due to lack of sun and pigment, a similar shade to the snow-covered peaks we were able to enjoy four or five months out of the year. In a matter of seconds, my sweet boy had unknowingly called me to the carpet for my white privilege. Continue reading “Review: Dear White People by Justin Simien”

Thoughts & Musings

A Cut in My Gick

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Losing a loved one is a tricky thing. We all grieve so differently. I spent the evening with a relative the other night after his wife passed away, and this sweet, elderly man, even in grief, was intent on making us laugh. His constant attempts at humor were a delight. As time passed though, he became weary, and forgetful.

“All this has really put a cut in my gick,” he said. Just as he intended, we all laughed.

I don’t know what a gick is, or how it must feel to have it cut, but there was certainly a hitch in my giddup or a wrench in my gears this weekend. Consequently, I haven’t posted for a few days.

I am a big fan of dialect and idioms, so naturally, it made me wonder what other sayings people use to describe an obstacle or problem that throws their life and routine out of balance. What would you say?

I would love to hear from you. Comment below!


Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

As you look back on your life, do you see forks in the road – clear points in time where you made a decision and left another possible life behind? For Jason Dessen, a college physics professor, those abandoned possibilities are about to catch up with him. Dark Matter is a dark quantum physics thriller woven with an intimate story of love lost – and the lengths one goes to regain it.

Continue reading “Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch”

Bookstores · Purchases

Book Hoarding – It’s a thing.

I might have a problem.

I seem to be unable to leave a bookstore without at least two books in hand.

Not such a terrible problem, one might think, only two books, except that I went to three stores today, and came home with twelve books.

It all started because I had a planning meeting for my trip to Italy this summer. The meeting was up the gorge in White Salmon, Washington, about 30 minutes from home. I decide that “on my way” to the meeting, I would pop into each of the Columbia River Gorge bookstores that I knew about, and just experience them briefly.

I had the best of intentions. No, really, I did. Browse, observe, make mental notes. When I hit pavement on Oak Street in Hood River, I was resolute that I wasn’t buying ANYTHING.

Continue reading “Book Hoarding – It’s a thing.”



“So many books, so little time.” – Frank Zappa

I don’t remember my very first book, but I remember loving to read as far back as my memory allows. I have random fragments associated with reading. I remember March of Dimes read-athons, spelling bees, and library time with my grandmother. I can recall the smell of the public libraries I frequented with my grandmother, where she let me check out as many books as my tiny arms could carry (including books my mother wouldn’t let me read… Sorry, Mom!)

To-Eileen-from-MommieMy first book-specific memory comes from a very special Christmas when my grandmother purchased the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Jean Wilder. I had already read all of these books by age 8, struggling to understand some of the more grown-up concepts of love, marriage, and tragedy, but devouring them nonetheless. What made them special was the note inside them, hand-penned from my grandmother. It didn’t matter that I had read them. I would read them a hundred times more before they disappeared into the dust like childhood treasures often do, and each time, I would see her handwriting and feel a warmth in my heart that only comes from knowing a grandmother’s love.

This love of books has followed me throughout my life. As I come to an age where my children need me less, I find a rise in the tide of that passion, so I have come here, to share this love with the world.

My dream is to someday own a bookstore of my own, a place where I can put that love on display in physical form. I want to bring you on a journey with me as my dream grows, expands, and begins to take on a life of its own.

You can always expect discussions on books, writing, publishing and book selling here. You might also learn about me, my family, and other hobbies. I am led by my emotions, and while I can channel a certain eloquence most of the time, it would only be fair to warn you that you might find the occasional angry rant or sharp sarcasm. One promise to my readers: I will always be myself.

I am excited to see where this adventure takes us. I hope you’ll join me. – LaRene